Department of Labor delays in processing Labor Condition Application (LCA) Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) verifications

As we are nearing the April 1, 2016 filing deadline for the H-1B petitions that are subject to the FY 2017 cap, the verification process of Federal Employer Identification Numbers (FEIN) reportedly takes longer than usual for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification.

One of the first steps in preparing an H-1B petition is to obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA) certification from the Department of Labor (DOL), and in some cases – especially for those employers who are submitting a Labor Condition Application for the first time through the DOL’s electronic system (iCert Portal) – it is necessary to have verified the petitioning employer’s FEIN before the submission of the LCA. Otherwise, the lack of verified FEIN could lead to the denial of the LCA or to an unwanted delay in the LCA’s certification.

Since the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) only accepts H-1B petitions with a certified LCA, signed by the employer, a delay in the FEIN verification process could ultimately render an employer unable to timely file the H-1B petition.

Hence, it is recommended to have verified the employer’s FEIN well in advance. Generally, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification receives most of the FEIN verification requests in the last two or three weeks before the April 1st filing deadline and can easily become backlogged; just as it happened this year.